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27th Sep 2016

The man behind the FIFA 17 ratings system explains how player ratings are calculated

A peek behind the machinery of it all.

Tom Victor

It’s the subject of near-endless debate, spanning claims of bias against pretty much every team at one point or another, but the FIFA ratings system has remained an enigma…until now.

Michael Mueller-Moehring, who oversees EA Sports’ player ratings for the upcoming FIFA 17 game, has revealed that a team of 9,000 people are responsible for ensuring each player is valued as fairly as possible.

And while some “guesswork” is involved, that only applies to those players who the data reviewers have not seen in the flesh.

For others, the team goes beyond plain old stats to add some subjectivity to the ratings, at least when it comes to some players at top teams.


“A case is Thomas Müller, who isn’t good at anything, really, apart from his positioning,” Mueller-Moehring told ESPNFC.

“He always finds the right spot on the pitch, it’s amazing. But he’s not a great dribbler and he can’t really strike the ball properly — his finishing is sometimes really, really off. Shot power is not his strength as well.

“So if you rate Thomas Müller properly, he ends up with a rating that we say doesn’t make sense. It’s too low.”

GettyImages-545415396Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Mueller-Moehring has also explained how using stats alone can become misleading due to variables in the style of play preferred by the team to which a certain player belongs.

“If your system is based on possession, you will have more successful passes than other players, but this doesn’t necessarily make you a better passer,” he said.

So, do we have a specific reason for Dimitri Payet being deemed a better passer than Lionel Messi? Not just yet, sadly.

Maybe he just is a better passer.

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